Once upon a time, in the land known as the Bay Area, there was a scrappy, independently-minded community who did everything themselves; communicated only via a system of hand-made photocopied materials and spent their spare time fighting with The Man and living ten people to a house. These folks read, wrote, or volunteered for Maximum Rock N' Roll religiously, never missed a show at Gilman Street and weren't averse to brown-bagging delicious malt beverages on street corners from Telegraph to the Upper Haight. Twas a simple time. A time, if you will, of punk rock pioneers.
[jump] In 1994, the established order of this tight community was upset when three of their own — Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool — signed to a major label (a cardinal sin of the time) and launched one of the most enduring and successful rock 'n' roll careers in recent history, changing the face of punk forever. The trio, known as Green Day, was shunned, excommunicated from their hometown venues and sent on their merry way, never to be seen again.
Only, that last part isn't true, because despite overwhelming success and cash reserves that would surely make Scrooge McDuck blush, Billie Joe Armstrong, for one, can not stop doing STUFF — any kind of stuff, all stuff, just give him stuff to do, dammit! The same plucky courage that prompted him and his pals to rush headlong into the big-time has absolutely refused to wane over time, and now we fear, twenty years later, l'il BJ is about to run out of endeavors because he's done pretty much everything now.
1. Retail Stuff: Broken Guitars
Billie and his former Pinhead Gunpowder cohort, Bill Schneider, are opening a guitar store on April 3rd, at 423 40th Street, in Oakland. The East Bay Express broke the news that Broken Guitars “will open with about 75 guitars on the wall, mostly culled from the personal collections of [Schneider] and Armstrong. The store will also sell amplifiers and offer full-service repairs for instruments and amplifiers.” We suspect that Schneider — who already has a business making custom amps — will be the day-to-day guy here, but, hey! Billie Joe! Guitars! Woo!
2. Label Stuff: Adeline Records
In 1997, Billie Joe launched Adeline Records with buddies Doug Sangalang from Screw 32, Jason White who plays guitar with Green Day, and pro skateboarder, Jim Thiebaud. The label has put out some pretty great pop-punk over the years, from the likes of Broadway Calls, AFI and One Man Army, and also served as a home for Green Day's electro-side-project, The Network, as well as Emily's Army — Billie Joe's son's band (even his offspring is already working!). These days, Adeline is owned by Green Day's manager, Pat Magnarella, but still puts out Green Day vinyl.
3. Movie Stuff: Like Sunday, Like Rain
Now, we'll be perfectly up front here and say that we haven't actually seen this movie, even though it came out in October. Partly because someone from Gossip Girl is in the lead role, partly because it looks almost obscenely predictable, and partly because Billie Joe Armstrong (or as he's billed in the trailer “Billy Joe from Green Day” — spell check, anyone?) appears to be indulging in some insane melodrama here. Watch and cringe, kids:
4. Musical / Documentary Stuff: American Idiot
One supposes that after you've started your music career pissing off everyone in your vicinity with your business decisions, it isn't a gigantic leap to assume that one day, you'll eventually see Broadway as a viable option. But the musical version of American Idiot remains one of the weirder things that's ever happened in punk rock, and the Showtime documentary about it all, Broadway Idiot (which included footage of the night that Billie Joe starred in the musical himself) made it all even weirder. “There's people that like to do things the safe way,” Billie Joe opens the film saying. “But that's never been in my vocabulary.” American Idiot ran from 2009 until May 2014.
5. Fashion Stuff: Adeline Street
In late 2006, Billie Joe and his wife Adrienne, appeared on the cover of Fat Mike from NOFX's short-lived (but very entertaining) magazine, Punk Rock Confidential. In it, they announced that Adeline Records' merch line was being expanded into a full-on fashion empire, complete with suits, shirts, dresses, ties and a hot variety of accessories, inspired by (in Billie Joe's words): “everything from old Vivienne Westwood to Dogpile, old British motorcycle clubs, Bob Dylan and The Clash.” It was obvious from the article though that Adrienne was doing most of the work though. The clothing line shut down in 2008.
6. Venue Stuff: 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
In 2012, when 1-2-3-4 Go! Records moved to a new store, Billie Joe and Bill Schneider — being the caring, workaholics they are — helped owner Steve Stevenson build a venue within the store. Because why the fuck not? Fun fact: the Broken Guitars store will occupy 1-2-3-4 Go! Records' previous location.
You've proved yourself Billie. Now go and take a nap, for fuck's sake.